Response to launch of WHO Draft Guidelines: Sugars intake for adults and children
We welcome the World Health Organisation’s* acknowledgement that “energy balance is critical to maintaining a healthy body weight”** and its continued recommendation that intake of sugars not exceed 10% of total energy. We are supportive of measures that help people better manage their overall calorie intake and diet.
We are concerned, however, that the WHO has suggested an ambition and conditional recommendation to reduce total daily energy intake of sugars to below 5%. While it acknowledges that there is uncertainty*** in support of this recommendation, and that substantial debate is needed, this proposal may mislead and confuse the public.
Sugar is just one source of calories, and reducing intake of it alone will not solve the obesity crisis, for which there is no quick fix. In fact, Government Family Food statistics show that there has actually been a reduction of almost 12%**** in total sugar consumption per capita in the UK over the past decade.
The overwhelming body of scientific evidence is that it is the over consumption of total calories across all food groups and our increasingly sedentary lifestyles that is driving obesity rates.
It is important therefore to help educate everyone on the importance of balancing energy (calories) in and energy (calories) out, and to provide accurate information based on facts and science so that the public can make considered decisions about sugar and what constitutes a healthy, balanced diet.